This will be the fifth year that our club has provided support for the Rio Hondo Symphony Children's Concert which brings fourth and fifth grade students from lower income schools to a special concert for them. Under the talented direction of Conductor Kimo Furumoto, the concert introduces students to symphonic music and even the variety of instruments to which they have not previously been exposed. It also serves to motivate them to pursue additional music education and in so doing focus more on school. This program is focused on children in disadvantaged circumstances from the Whittier City, Los Nietos, South Whittier and Little Lake School Districts.
The concert(s) will be scheduled in January. In January 2018, two concerts were held on subsequent days in order to accommodate all of the students and two concerts are again anticipated in 2019.
Music and art instruction continue to be limited as the emphasis is on language and math which are the focus of testing accountability. Yet, music and art are also strong contributors to intellectual development and may also serve to motivate students in school in general.
Project funds will be used to pay for school buses to bring the students to the concert auditorium at Whittier High School. According to the projected budget of the Rio Hondo Symphony Association, our contribution will pay for a substantial portion, but not all, of the transportation costs. Whittier Sunrise Rotarians will assist in managing the arrival and departure of these buses which is a very complex operation due to the number of students arriving and departing in a relatively short period of time. Rotarians will also serve as ushers and provide other assistance to school and symphony staff during the concert.
This project has grown to include a close association of the Whittier Sunrise Rotary Club with the Rio Hondo Symphony Association. The Symphony Association presents four free concerts each season to the general public. These concerts particularly attract seniors, many of who are of limited mobility. Club members are now in charge of the disabled parking. Five to six club members, assisted by students from the California High School Interact, direct parking and assist disabled seniors from the vehicles to their seats in the auditorium.